President: “Legislation amendments should be well thought-out”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 9, 2020 09:43

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  • In an interview for the Voice of America, Meta spoke about a number of challenges Albania faces while awaiting a decision to open EU accession negotiations, one of the main ones being the need to show concrete results is the fight against organized crime and corruption.

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TIRANA, Feb. 8 – President Ilir Meta spoke from Washington last Thursday, where he attended the Prayers Breakfast , an annual event attended by political and religious leaders, MPs and other prominent figures from around the world, of the challenges Albania is facing in its EU path and especially regardings its fight against corruption and organized crime.  

In an interview for the Voice of America, Meta spoke about a number of challenges Albania faces while awaiting a decision to open EU accession negotiations, one of the main ones being the need to show concrete results is the fight against organized crime and corruption. 

Recently, the government announced through a normative act its new Rule of Law Operation (OFL) initiative, aiming to seize citizens’ assets allegedly stemming from criminal activities. 

The amendments to the present laws and OFL were met with widespread debate in the country while Washington and Brussels, although welcoming the will to fight organized crime, indicated they will closely follow the act’s implementation. 

Asked about this initiative, Meta said that Albania already had all the necessary laws in place, adding that when interventions take place, they should be well thought out, in order not to cause legal overlappings. 

“My thought is that all the legislation was there, all the institutions were there. No one is preventing the government from setting up task forces on an ongoing basis, but legislation interventions should be well-thought out, transparent enough, and not create disputes or overlaps of a legal or institutional character, because in the long run they do not serve to strengthen the rule of law,” Meta told the VOA President of the Albanian Service Arben Xhixho.

Asked what he thinks should be done to dismantle the alleged ties between politicians and the world of crime, Meta said the best way to go at it is for politicians of any rank not to intervene or put pressure on the new justice reforms bodies, which were created with hardship and amid a polarized political climate.

“Creating a law that overruns constitutional law is nothing but, in the present case, an attempt to transform the Constitutional Court into a party organization and blow up the credibility of the entire justice system,” Meta commented, referring to the parliament’s upcoming plan to amend the laws relating to the Constitutional Court’s establishment following a clash with Meta regarding one of the still-unfunctional body’s candidates. 

Both Meta and the parliament have addressed the Venice Commission on this CC clash and more specifically on the legal order of candidate approval by the parliament and president, although Meta initially reacted harshly to international partners’ appeal to ask the Council of Europe’s advisory body.

He said he decided to also address the commission to make the entire flow of events between parliament and president more transparent, as the government has failed to inform citizens on the information it is requesting. 

“And the parliament’s questions were self-suggesting beyond what had happened, so I was obliged, not only to make clear to the Venice Commission all the constitutional and legal violations that the Albanian parliament has unfortunately committed, but also to to help them confront facts and truths,” Meta said.

Asked by Xhixho whether he will fully trust the commission’s interpretation once it is compiled, Meta said he only fully trusts the post of the president and the constitution and denied the VC assessed in the past he “overstepped his competencies” by annulling the June 30 local elections last year in its final assessment as requested by the government. 

The government addressed the VC on Meta’s local elections’ postponement on the grounds they were rendered undemocratic without the opposition’s participation seeking to oust him. 

Xhixho told Meta during the interview the final VC assessment had said the president’s actions had overstepped his competencies, but that they were not serious enough to lead to his removal from office. 

Meta however, argued that was not the final form of the VC assessment and that he would not comment on it during airtime, as he did not have the last version available in front of him like Xhixho did. 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 9, 2020 09:43